The Worst Kind of Girl

Price: $19.95

Item #131 The Worst Kind of Girl. Susan Rukeyser.

Place Published: Braddock, PA
Publisher: Braddock Avenue Books
Date Published: June 2024
ISBN: 9798218431433


There’s a good reason Susan Rukeyser’s writing has been described as “Sharp as a cholla and joyful as a roller disco” (Gayle Brandeis). With a compulsive energy, The Worst Kind of Girl reveals the never-ending desire to truly know oneself, no matter how surprising and ever-changing that knowledge might be.

When her husband disappears and is presumed dead, 50-year-old Paula Winger leaves her comfortable East Coast life to buy the rundown Hi-Dez Motel, near Joshua Tree, California. Hoping for community and reinvention, things change radically when she falls in love with Sky, a woman, after a lifetime of men. Paula draws suspicion as, all around her, bodies turn up or go missing, but she’s busy reckoning with her identity at midlife, the ordinary traumas of girlhood, bodies, bigness, and sexual fluidity. Paula worries about her troubled adult niece, Gerry, and becomes determined to save her some time and trouble. 

The Worst Kind of Girl invites the reader into a conversation about love and life and art and the joy we feel when we finally recognize ourselves. Filled with generosity and wisdom, this is a novel by a writer who has found her voice.

Praise for The Worst Kind of Girl

In Susan Rukeyser's The Worst Kind of Girl, the California desert is home to not only a series of murders, but also a series of births. It's a place where people who cannot be contained go to discover themselves in the open, like the memorable Paula, who's looking for a second chance--and identity--at midlife, and her niece, Gerry, whom Paula is determined to save from the same mistakes. In a landscape of heat, mirage, and isolation, Rukeyser writes of not only of coming out, but coming into one's own. A tender and beautiful novel. 
—Jen Michalski, author of The Company of Strangers

 The High Desert is full of literary mythology, the bulk of it, historically, male. With The Worst Kind of Girl, Susan Rukeyser has gorgeously queered the cis-white-het-solitary-desert-man-on-the-lam genre and given us a fuller portrait of the complex communities of Joshua Tree and the Mojave, one in which there is agency and connectedness among women who hold their own powerful truths about both their own bodies, art, and the land that nurtures their quests for freedom.
—Gina Frangello, author of Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason

 Sharp as cholla and joyful as a roller disco, The Worst Kind of Girl is the best kind of story--the journey of a woman redefining self, voice, and community in midlife. I loved my time in the Hi-Dez and Rainbow Roll, loved the characters Susan Rukeyser crafted with so much wit and quirk and compassion. A fierce, hopeful desert wildflower of a novel.
—Gayle Brandeis, author of Drawing Breath: Essays on Writing, the Body, and Loss

Susan Rukeyser gives us the protagonist we’ve been waiting for! At fifty, Paula Winger unapologetically explores her sexuality. Like a rattler in the Mojave, she sheds her identity that has been centered around pleasing men and discovers her queer self with honest trepidation. 
—Jennifer Lewis, editor of Red Light Lit and author of The New Low



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